GAZA STRIP, PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES - Israeli forces squeezed Gaza’s main cities Friday, two months after Hamas’s deadly attack sparked a war that has killed thousands, left the Palestinian territory in ruins, and triggered an extraordinary UN bid for a ceasefire.
Weeks of fighting have left 17,177 people dead in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the latest toll from Hamas which rules the coastal strip.
Vowing to destroy the Hamas, Israel has relentlessly bombarded Gaza and sent in tanks and ground troops since the war began on October 7 with unprecedented attacks by Hamas on southern Israel.
Vast areas of Gaza have been reduced to a wasteland. The UN says about 80 percent of the population has been displaced, facing shortages of food, fuel, water and medicine, along with the threat of disease.
On Friday, the Hamas-run health ministry reported another 40 dead in strikes near Gaza City, and dozens more in Jabalia and Khan Yunis.
AFPTV live footage showed plumes of dark smoke over the territory’s north. The death toll also rose in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, where Israeli forces shot dead six Palestinians on Friday, the territory’s health ministry said.
An attack in Baghdad again raised fears of wider conflict. Salvoes of rockets targeted the US embassy in Baghdad’s Green Zone before dawn, US officials said.
Israeli forces shot dead six Palestinians Friday in a raid on a refugee camp in the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian health ministry said, as the army confirmed it conducted a “counter-terrorism” operation.
The ministry said those who lost their lives included a 14-year-old boy and an 18-year-old. It said they had been killed “by bullets from the occupation (Israel) in the Al-Fara refugee camp” near Tubas.